Casey Stoner, never one to lavish praise where it isn't due, called the Silverstone MotoGP circuit 'simply fantastic' after finishing second in Friday free practice.

"The layout of the track is simply fantastic," said the Ducati rider. "It is great fun to ride and some of the corners are awesome. Unfortunately there are a few bumps on the 'old' part of the track where the asphalt hasn't been relaid but when they get around to doing it I think we can safely say it will be one of the best circuits in the world."

The 2007 world champion finished the rain-shortened hour just 0.142sec behind MotoGP title leader Jorge Lorenzo and is thus on target to claim his first podium of the season on Sunday.

"We've worked hard on the set-up today and for the moment we are still looking for the right solution," he added. "The bike was a little too stiff for the bumps and it was difficult to find the limit or understand how fast we can really go. We'll make some changes tomorrow and hope the weather is good to us."

Team-mate Nicky Hayden didn't make sure a rapid start to the British MotoGP weekend, but thinks he's in better shape than tenth would suggest.

"The first impressions of the circuit are good I just do not like that much the first chicanes and we need to make the bike a bit more manageable there," he said. "The surface is more smooth on the second half of the lap where the grip also is better.

"I was on the pace for the first part of the session, then we tried some set-up changes on the second bike and they didn't work out how we planned. We dropped back so I got back on my first bike but only got a couple of laps in before the rain came.

"I would have preferred the opportunity to stay out there until the very end to keep learning the track but all in all I think it was a positive enough first day for us."

Silverstone last hosted the British motorcycle grand prix in 1986, after which it moved to Donington Park.


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